BRIDES, like most wedding blogs out there, have published a list of “important questions” to ask your wedding photographer before you book them. You can see their article here. It’s a very common article, I’m sure theKnot has one as well. I saw this article and thought how perfect, I can answer all of these for you guys right in a blog post about working with Meghan Elizabeth Photography! It’ll be like a one stop shop for you guys, so we can get down to the really important stuff – getting to know each other and building a friendship because to me that is so important with my couples!!
The Wedding Date:
• Is my wedding date available?
Obviously this is a case by case situation.
• Are you the photographer who will shoot my wedding? If not, can I meet the photographer before my wedding?
Yes! I’ll be the lead photographer and will bring along a second shooter (second’s are included in both wedding packages).
• How many other weddings will you photograph that weekend?
It depends on the weekend, but I only take on one wedding a day. Most weekends I only have one wedding but sometimes it’s a double header(one on Friday & Saturday or Saturday & Sunday).
• Will you have any assistants with you on that day?
Yes, my second shooter. Christine, Megan or sometimes Angel. And potentially an assistant, Sam.
• How will you (and your assistants) be dressed?
In wedding professional attire – sometimes thats a dress, sometimes slacks and a shirt. You can see some behind the scenes images here.
• How long have you been shooting weddings?
On a regular basis since 2013 when I started my business, however I shot 4 weddings prior to the start of my business since 2009.
• How many weddings have you photographed? Have you done any that were similar to mine in size and style?
As of January 2018 I’ve shot a total of 69 weddings (47 as lead photographer & 22 as second shooter). Again, the second part of this question would be based on a case by case wedding, so make sure to ask me this one personally.
• Have you shot a wedding at my ceremony and reception venues? If not, do you plan to check it out in advance?
Again, a case by case situation. But if I haven’t I am more than willing to check out the venue in advance. However, I have found that seeing the venue prior to the wedding day has no bearing on my ability to capture you and your venue well on the day of. There are so many variables that change day to day that will affect my shooting decisions within the moment. For example, the light is the most important factor! The light is affected by the season, the time of day, the weather, the way the venue is lit artificially. So while we may tour your venue and I may at that moment select a few spots that I love for portraits, come your wedding day we may find that the light in those spots doesn’t work and we need to change the plan. If you have further questions about this, please ask! Let’s talk more about it!
• Do you have a portfolio of recent weddings you’ve shot — from start to finish — that I can browse?
Yes of course!!! Check out the weddings here.
• Have you ever worked with my videographer? Florist? DJ? Coordinator, etc.?
Again a case by case answer.
• May I have a list of references?
Yes of course 😀 You can read some on wedding wire but if you’d like more, I’m happy to connect you with some previous couples.
• How would you describe your wedding-photography style? (e.g. traditional, photojournalistic, artistic)
I’m a Lifestyle Photographer. Which means that I focus on candid moments but I also capture some moments or situations that have been stylized or given some direction. For example, while photographing your portraits, I will find a scene – a really great looking wall and ask the two of you to stand in front of it with your arms wrapped around eachother and then instruct you to just “have a moment”. How you interpret “have a moment” allows me to capture you as you are in real life. Some of you may hug, some may kiss, some may whisper a funny joke into the other’s ear.
• How would you describe your working style? (e.g. Does he/she prefer to blend into the background and shoot what unfolds naturally, or does he/she create a more visible presence by taking charge and choreographing shots?)
I’m actually a mixture of the two. Like I talked about above – during the quiet moments such as the ceremony or your first look, I take a backseat and just capture the moments as they unfold. I don’t create moments here. During portraits such as bridal party or family formals I take a very visible presence and choreograph all of these shots.
• What do you think makes your work distinct?
The emotional captures. I’ve been told that when people look at my images they don’t just look at it and think “oh thats a good shot of them.” They look at an image of a couple they know and think “that captures them” & feel the emotion of the image – the excitement or the tenderness.
• Do you shoot digitally or with film? Or both?
I shoot digitally. All of your images are delivered by digital. However this year I am beginning to incorporate film into my workflow, so you may have a few images in your gallery that were created on film.
• What type of equipment do you use?
You can check out this blog post here, I go into detail. But the short answer, Nikon!
• Do you shoot in color and black and white?
My camera shoots in color. I would say about 90% of your delivered images will be in color. But there’s just something so classically romantic about a black & white and as a result when an image looks better in a black&white I will deliver it in black&white.
• Can I give you a list of specific shots we would like?
This is two fold. In terms of your family formals and friend breakdowns, we will sit down about 2-4 weeks prior to your wedding day and go over every detail and this is one of them. I need a list of every grouping you wish to have with the participants names. (for example: Bride & Groom with Bride’s Parents). In terms of other aspects of the day and your Pinterest board – I am so happy and welcome your input, please share your board with me and email me your top 10 couples images. While I can’t & won’t promise that we will capture each of those poses exactly if we have the time we will attempt to get them. Keep in mind though that your images won’t look exactly like that shot on Pinterest. But that’s good! That image tells their story, you want your images to tell your story. You’ve hired me to capture you and tell your story through my lens, not through the lens of Pinterest.
Photography Packages and Payment:
• If my wedding site is out of your area, do you charge a travel fee and what does that cover?
60 miles of travel for the wedding day (roundtrip) & 30 miles (roundtrip) for the engagement shoot are included in the packages. After that there’s a charge of $1 per mile.
• What packages do you offer?
Two packages – one with an album & one without. That’s the big difference between the two. Both of them include –
a complimentary engagement session, second photographer, 8 hours of wedding day coverage, digital files of the edited images, online viewing gallery & the 60 miles of travel.
• Can I customize a package based on my needs?
Yes, if we need to customize a package, for example you wish to add hours to give us 10 hours of coverage or get rid of some hours we can discuss this.
• Do you include engagement photos in your packages?
• Do you offer a photo booth?
I do not right now but I can refer you to some awesome companies that I have worked with before.
• Can you put together a slideshow of the engagement session to show during cocktail hour? What about an “instant” slideshow of the ceremony to show at the reception?
Yes we can of course do the engagement slide show! The ceremony/early day slide show can be done it just means that I need to be given some time during the reception to work on these images and put the slideshow together. We can discuss this option further.
•What type of album designs do you offer? Do you provide any assistance in creating an album?
I offer a 10×10 linen album included in the second package option. I am completely hands-on in designing the album. You select the images you’d like to have in your album, I will design it, send it over for proofing and make any adjustments and then send it to print.
When you book the second package, this album comes with a $200 discount.
• Do you provide retouching, color adjustment, or other corrective services?
Color correction and exposure and some minor editing is included. If you have more extensive editing requests there may be a fee associated with it, we would discuss this further should the question arise about your images.
• How long after the wedding will I get the proofs? Will they be viewable online? On a CD? A thumb drive?
Within 24-48 hours I have a blog post up and those images on the blog post are sent to you in your downloadable gallery for you to use. The rest of your gallery will be delivered to you within 6 weeks of your wedding day.
• Will you be posting about our wedding on your social media sites (blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)?
Yes! I love sharing your stories and images. If you prefer to not be online, let me know and I will respect this request.
• Will you be submitting our wedding photos to magazines or blogs?
I would love to!! We can discuss which blogs/magazines your wedding would be best suited for and if there’s any notes you’d like to add to the submission to make it a little bit more personal.
• What is the ordering process for photos and albums?
For photos, you order them directly through the downloadable gallery that I email to you. Or you can take your digitals and order your images through your own means. For the album, as discussed above, if you wish to order through me, you select the images you’d like to have in your album, I will design it, send it over for proofing and make any adjustments and then send it to print.
• How long after I order my photos/album will I receive them?
For prints – they’re usually delivered to your doorstep within 2 weeks at the most. This is dependent on the printing company that I work with, when you order your images the order goes directly to them to speed up the process.
For album – this is dependent upon how fast you select your favorites and how fast you get your notes back to me. Assuming we have a fast turn around time, the album is usually printed and delivered to my doorstep for my approval within 2 weeks. You should have your album in your hands about 4 weeks after we start the album designing process.
• Will you give me the negatives and/or the digital images, and is there a fee for that? Will the digital images be high-resolution?
The digital images are high-resolution.
I do not give out the digital negatives. I shoot in the RAW format and this requires special applications to read the files. In addition, your images straight from my camera (the “negatives”) are an unfinished for my artistic expression. We wouldn’t ask Picasso for a half finished painting, we wouldn’t ask a chef for a raw piece of steak, so I ask that you don’t ask me for my half finished images.
• When will I receive a written contract?
As soon as you say you’re ready to book & let me know which package you would like to book. Once I have that information, you will receive your contract within 24 hours.
• How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due? Do you offer a payment plan?
A non-refundable retainer is due when you sign the contract and it is worth 1/3 the total cost of the package price. The second payment is due about halfway through and the final is due a month before.
• What is your refund/cancellation policy?
All retainers are non-refundable. If you are moving your wedding date, I am more than happy to move with you assuming that date is still available on my calendar.
• Do you have liability insurance?
• Do you have backup equipment? What about a backup plan if you (or my scheduled photographer) are unable to shoot my wedding for some reason?
Yes I have backup equipment 😀 I have three camera bodies that I bring with me on a wedding day, in addition to multiple lenses & flash equipment.
In the unfortunate and rare event of an emergency that would keep me from your wedding, I would do everything within my power to find a trusted photographer to come in my place and assist my already scheduled second photographer. If it was a situation where I was unresponsive, my husband & mother have written instructions of who to call and how to find someone. We would get someone to your wedding and after my emergency situation had been dealt with, we would be in discussion about a refund and how to move forward.
• Is it okay if other people take photos while you’re taking photos?
I welcome family members to take photos along side of me or at the same time during family formals and such. I will allow them to capture their shot and then I’ll ask them to take a step back so that I can capture the shot on my camera.
• What time will you arrive at the site and for how long will you shoot?
This is completely based upon your timeline and schedule for the day and how many hours you book me for. We’ll discuss these details during a meeting that we have about 2-4 weeks before the wedding day.
• If my event lasts longer than expected, will you stay? Is there an additional charge?
Should a reception event run a little later than expected, I will definitely stay and finish capturing the event. Should the time go longer than 30 minutes there will be an additional hour charge of $500.
• How far in advance do I need to book you?
I recommend booking ASAP! But at least a year in advance to be safe, you may get lucky and be able to book a few months in advance.
• What information do you need from me before the wedding day?
All of your contact information and which wedding day package you will be selecting. After we finish the contract portion, I just want to know about you! What do you do professionally, what’s your passion/hobbies, how did the two of you meet, how did he propose?!